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How dermatologists can prevent cellulitis misdiagnoses

| Mar 12, 2018 | medical malpractice

Texas cellulitis patients should know about the findings of researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as they may affect how cellulitis will be diagnosed in the future. Cellulitis is a bacterial skin condition that leads to red, swollen skin that’s warm and tender to the touch. The only way to diagnose it is by looking at the skin and taking the patient’s symptoms into account.

Moreover, the condition is often confused with pseudocellulitis, which mimics the symptoms of cellulitis. However, the researchers at BWH have published a study in JAMA Dermatology stating that early consultations with dermatologists can reduce the number of misdiagnoses. As part of their research, they took 165 patients diagnosed with presumptive cellulitis and had them speak to a dermatologist before entering the BWH Emergency Department. A third were found to have pseudocellulitis.

Out of those patients, 82.4 percent were told to stop taking their antibiotic medicine. One half did not have to be admitted to the hospital, and none showed worsened symptoms. Researchers concluded that early intervention from dermatologists could save patients and hospitals money in unnecessary stays and antibiotic use.It remains to be seen whether 24-hour access to dermatologists is feasible in facilities like rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. BWH researchers are developing tools for delivering remote consultations.

When misdiagnoses lead to serious harm, victims can file a malpractice claim. In order to be successful, plaintiff’s counsel will have to demonstrate that the doctor’s error constituted a failure to provide the requisite standard of care. The attorney can obtain the opinion testimony of one or more medical experts in this regard.